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What to do about this bird

LadyLazerJ asks about this bird that showed up on her Somerville porch tonight:

Not sure what kind of bird (female?) this is or if I should intervene. Hanging out on my porch this evening, puffed up like it's cold, barely moving. Suggestions? Leave it be? Or see if it likes the box I lined with a towel? I don't want to stress it out by catching it unnecessarily.

While darker in color it's reminiscent of a common house finch. Black & dark brown markings, a dark grayish-brown body. Eyes are slightly bigger than a finch.


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Leave it alone.

Voting closed 16

Puffed up can mean cold (though not necessarily distressed - birds at a feeder in winter are usually puffed up), relaxed and contented, or on the defensive. And probably ten other things. Sick might be one of them, but puffed up doesn't mean sick.

It probably is cold, because it's winter, but it's a bird, and it lives outside all winter every year, as have all its ancestors. I agree with the "leave it alone" advice.

Voting closed 41

... a bird puffs up it’s feathers. Especially if it is hanging out all alone in an unusual spot and not moving much, staying puffed up as this bird appears to be doing.
Birds do eventually die.
The best thing to do is not to stress it further by getting too close to it and putting it in a box.

Voting closed 4

No, puffed up bird when it is well below freezing just means it is cold outside.

Here's a great place to learn about how wildlife behave: https://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife

Voting closed 8

... are puffed up birds mentioned?
We all know you like to be the expert in everything but even you can be wrong.
Unusual behavior in a bird can mean many things. Sick birds sometimes have trouble keeping warm. It was not that cold yesterday.

Voting closed 16

"Most birds that regularly winter in New England are well suited to withstand cold temperatures. In the fall, many birds grow additional feathers for insulation. To keep warm while roosting, birds fluff their feathers. Because of the way their feathers are layered, this behavior traps pockets of warm air next to the skin."

Your advice was good. I just didn't want LadyLazerJ to think she had a sick bird on her hands.

Voting closed 7

We will never know. Pure speculation on everyone’s part.
It’s good that they asked so that they know to leave the bird undisturbed.

Voting closed 6

That you make "truthy" statements and then double and triple down when called out on them.

Are you sure your name isn't Mikki?

Voting closed 5

23 short for a pie, maybe enough for a small tart though I guess.

Voting closed 27

The fluff and coloring may be due to a late molt. Leave him alone . .

Voting closed 6


Voting closed 18

Might be , can’t see the belly

Voting closed 10